The one drawback so far has been the lack of coffee on the ride in. I drink one cup before heading out, but it’s that second cup I drink when I drive into work that really lays down a good foundation for the day ahead. This is why my favorite cycling purchase of 2009 so far has got to be my Trek Soho Coffee Mug. At 18 oz., this insulated, stainless steel mug carries a healthy serving of piping hot Joe that I can sip or chug along the way. It fits snugly into a standard bottle cage and the safety lid is relatively easy to operate with one hand. It is not quite as easy to use as a standard water bottle, but seems not to splash or leak. Just be sure to dust off the stray road salt before drinking. The insulation is adequate and the joy of sipping hot coffee while waiting for a green light in 28-degree weather is priceless. The Soho mug is standard on the Trek Soho commuter bike but it can also be pruchased separately for $14.95. My pals at the Bicycle Depot were more than happy to order me one and may have a few more in stock now; give them a call. If the Trek model is not for you, consult the Bicycle Coffee Systems website for countless other options.
The other challenge I face on the commute into work is the Mid-Hudson Bridge itself whose pedestrian “walkway” is only open from dawn to dusk and rarely ever shoveled. The three-lane roadway is absolutely off limits to cyclists and the pedestrian path limitations make it somewhat more of a challenge in the winter months than I might hope. In fact, I’ve been forced to hop with my bike over the railing on more than one occasion to simply get home in the evening after the gates have been locked. There must be a better way.
Thankfully, the non-profit “Walkway Over the Hudson” project is working to convert an impressive retired freight train line that spans the Hudson just north of the Mid-Hudson Bridge into a pedestrian path. Before the economy entered its present freefall, the plans were to open the span to pedestrians in the fall of 2009 to coincide with the Quadricentennial of Henry Hudson’s fateful trip up the river that now bears his name. With a little luck, and some generous donations, they hopefully won’t be too far off schedule. Donations can be made through their website.
To maximize my training, decompress from a day at work (and because the shoulder on the northbound side of my road is a dangerous mess) I usually add miles onto my return trip in the evening. The additional miles place me on back roads which are much safer after dark. My B + M IXON IQ headlamp is more than adequate to light up the road during the winter months and I also wear my reflective RUSA Sam Browne belt and ankle bands for good measure. With only two round-trips per week, I add a 70-mile base to my training. The fresh air, wildlife and bucolic vistas only add to the experience.